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Mission: Classified #1

Beyond Instinct

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Vaughn Elliott is a member of the State Department s Diplomatic Security Force. Someone high up in the United States government has pulled rank, hand-selecting her to oversee security for a visit by congressional VIPs to the West African nation of Mali. The question is, who picked her for the job and why?

Sage McNally, a career diplomat, is the political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Mali. As control officer for the congressional visit, she is tasked to brief Vaughn regarding the political climate in the region.

The two women are instantly attracted to each other and share a wild night of passion. The next morning, Sage disappears while running, leaving behind signs of a scuffle. Why was Sage taken and by whom? Where is she being held?

Vaughn s attempts to get answers are thwarted at every turn. Even Sage does not know why she s been targeted.

Independently, Sage and Vaughn struggle to make sense of the seemingly senseless. By the time each of them figures it out, it could be too late for Sage.

As the clock ticks inexorably toward the congressional visit, the stakes get even higher, and Vaughn is faced with unspeakable choices. Her decisions will make the difference between life and death. Will she choose duty or her own code of honor?

289 pages, Paperback

First published May 19, 2011

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About the author

Lynn Ames

26 books239 followers
Lynn Ames is the best-selling author of sixteen books. She also is the writer/director/producer of the history-making documentary, “Extra Innings: The Real Story Behind the Bright Lights of Summer.” This historically important documentary chronicles, for the first time ever in her own words, the real-life story of Hall-of-Famer Dot Wilkinson and the heyday of women’s softball.

Lynn’s fiction has garnered her a multitude of awards and honors, including six Goldie awards, the coveted Ann Bannon Popular Fiction Award (for All That Lies Within), the Alice B. Medal for Lifetime Achievement, and the Arizona Book Award for Best Gay/Lesbian book. Lynn is a two-time Lambda Literary Award (Lammy) finalist, a Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award finalist, a Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Honorable Mention winner, and winner of several Rainbow Reader Awards. All That Lies Within was additionally honored as one of the top ten lesbian books overall of 2013.

Ms. Ames is the founder of Phoenix Rising Press. She is also a former press secretary to the New York state senate minority leader and spokesperson for the nation’s third-largest prison system. For more than half a decade, she was an award-winning broadcast journalist. She has been editor of a critically acclaimed national magazine and a nationally recognized speaker and public relations professional with a particular expertise in image, crisis communications planning, and crisis management.

For additional information please visit her website at www.lynnames.com, or e-mail her at lynnames@lynnames.com. You can also friend Lynn on Facebook and follow her on Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

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5 stars
77 (38%)
4 stars
81 (40%)
3 stars
34 (16%)
2 stars
6 (2%)
1 star
4 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews
Profile Image for Lex Kent.
1,682 reviews8,611 followers
June 5, 2016
Wow talk about exciting! This book grabbed me from the beginning and didn't let go until the end. This is my first book read by Ames, and I enjoyed every second. The action is so faced past that I felt almost like I couldn't stop and take a breath till about 2/3 the way through. And you only get a short break, then the action picks right back up. This book is the true definition of a page turning thriller.
Also want to mention the book cover is gorgeous, drew me to the book right away.
The only downside to the whole book, was the romance was put on the back burner for all the action. And while this is not a cliff-hanger book, It looks like you would have to read Above Reproach to find out the outcome of the romance. That is alright with me, I'm very much looking forward to reading book 2.
I will be reading many more books by Ames, and would easily recommend this to any action/thriller fans.
Profile Image for lov2laf.
714 reviews1,044 followers
April 3, 2017
I have some frustration with this one. In truth, I nearly gave up on it the first 20% of the book but I'm glad I stuck with it.

The book attempts to do two things, be a romance first and a then thriller. For me, it failed in the former. The first 20% of the book focuses on Vaughn, an emotionally scarred former CIA agent and Sage, a woman working in the Ambassador's office, where Vaughn's next assignment takes place. The author attempts to build chemistry between the two leads, initially going on the premise of a more superficial mutual attraction...okay, fine...but then it's pushed to be something it's not...instant, presto, in-love, for real love.

Once the thriller aspect kicks in, the book is a lot more fun and interesting. The author does a good job of keeping the plot moving at a fast pace and I stayed engaged at that point. All of the thriller elements of the book seemed plausible (yes, far-fetched but done in a believable way, at least) and the story felt like an action movie. The writing itself is solid and professional.

Sadly, the things I didn't like were the romance and the two main characters. Sage is basically left unexplored as a person after the first 20% of the book and Vaughn wasn't particularly likable in the first place since she comes across as a pretty macho, cardboard character. Any "relationship" between the two just felt forced. Funnily, the side characters were much more interesting to me and Sage WOULD have been interesting if the author kept her on the same path as when she started. Oh, well. I was hoping Justine and Sage would hook up, instead. They had better chemistry. Oi.

Anyway, if you want a political thriller, this is pretty good. If you want a romance, this isn't.

Profile Image for Dide.
1,216 reviews38 followers
September 3, 2018
This was a good read and my rating is more 3.5 than 3. Plot, characters etc. were all quite captivating. I do have a problem understanding why Fairhaven posted Vaughn when he new she is a good agent. That angle just isn't clear to me. That said this was an enjoyable read just not in my 4star range
630 reviews3 followers
August 12, 2018
Gripping page turner, loved the story and the people in this book and the way everything its resolved by the end.
Profile Image for Barrett.
Author 38 books46 followers
August 4, 2011
This was a fast paced and well researched international thriller with courageous, professional women driving the story. Add in some insidious bad guys and some resourceful allies and the story sizzled.
Profile Image for Monique S..
Author 12 books36 followers
July 17, 2022
This is definitely one of the best thrillers I have read so far. The setting is something I know and well described, the real Tuareg are someting else entirely. I met one on a bus from Hurgada to Quena in Egypt, He had exactly the same look, the blue head-dress and mesmerising blue eyes, like on the cover, only male. He told me to take a trip on a dromedar through Sinai to St. Katherines, something I'll never forget. But I digress.

The plot is amazing in the simplicity of the crime, that is practically impossible to guess until pretty late in the story, when all becomes clear.

The main characters, Vaughn and Sage, are relatable, realistic and well defined, as are Justine and Jackson, Vaughn's friends. Who the villains are can be safely assumed almost from the beginning, but what he is doing and why remains pretty open for a long while.

My one criticism is about the romance, Vaughn's stubborn denial of her feelings is drawn out just that little bit too long for my taste, I'd have preferred a bit more about Vaughn and sage together in the end. But then it's a thriller in the first place and a very good one at that.
Profile Image for Lisa.
146 reviews1 follower
March 18, 2023

This story has everything you could want in a thriller/action movie, even a wlw romance! Loved everything about this book, from the settings to the plot, to the characters, both main and secondary. Even the pace was spot-on. Might have like a bit more romance, but I will not complain because everything just fit. Great story!
Profile Image for Sally Trotter.
290 reviews8 followers
February 2, 2018
A rollercoaster ride

This is a book I had meant to read for ages and am kicking myself for not getting to it sooner. One he'll of a story with twists and turns on every other page well worth its 5 stars can't wait to read the next one
358 reviews1 follower
August 9, 2020
Couldn’t put it down

Ms. Ames got my attention and kept it so well I couldn’t put the book dow until I finished it. Good spy thriller, great love story, awesome characters... sometimes too real.
Profile Image for Sunny.
82 reviews2 followers
May 21, 2013
I would probably give this one 3 1/2 stars if I could, but rounded down instead of up because I didn't want to rate it quite as high as those I've rated a 4. Enjoyable and interesting plot even if you do have to suspend belief just a little bit. Really difficult things seem to happen a little too easily and there's always a 'friend' in line to call for help.

The connection between Vaughn and Sage seemed to be really strong, REALLY fast. I think it had something to do with Sage reminding Vaughn of Sara and feeling she could right a wrong by saving her, but I didn't understand how their connection got so deep so quickly. Aside from that, I liked the characters, including the secondary ones, and enjoyed this fast-paced story.
106 reviews
June 1, 2015
Like movies I have an affinity for stories that are action packed and keep me turning the page. Lynn Ames nails it all together in Beyond Instinct with an action packed adventure that I truly enjoyed. Ames did an outstanding job of tying the whole story together in a solid story, fast paced action and great ending. From the moment Vaughn Elliott is introduced and running toward an explosion the action just gets faster and faster. Add in Sage McNally with her intellect and huge heart and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next as the two ran through the dessert, dodged bullets and raced to diffuse an internattional episode. I think it is excellent advice to not start reading this late at night as Beyond Instinct has the grab your attention and keeping you awake.
Profile Image for Elaine Burnes.
Author 9 books23 followers
November 19, 2011
Like Mission: Impossible for lesbians. Very much a page turner. Basic, uber-Xena type plot where strong, silent former CIA agent Vaugn takes a security job at an embassy in Mauritania and meets Sage, who reminds Vaughn of Sara, who, well, that's for the opening. Sage goes missing, Vaughn goes after Sage and things really rock and roll along quite intensely. Problems are solved a little too easily and quickly, but overall, quite good.
Profile Image for M.
289 reviews55 followers
November 5, 2014
I have to admit that this book became a bit of a struggle by the end. Every time that a seemingly impossible situation occurred, the was always a way around the latest insurmountable problem that usually involved amazing friends, with incredible resources. If such people existed and had the level of skill displayed, they would rule the world.

The ending felt incredibly abrupt and lacking in drama. The huge chunk of exposition at the end tied everything up very neatly.
Profile Image for CK.
56 reviews1 follower
September 21, 2013
It's all in the details and Lynn Ames gets the details right in this series. Showing obvious knowledge of her subject, Ames weaves a believable web of political intrigue. I confess that I often skim through the background details of a novel, when an author doesn't persuade me the time spent will be worthwhile. Not so with Beyond Instinct. I read every word and still finished the book in two nights, because the suspenseful story demanded my interest more than sleep.
Profile Image for Line.
137 reviews22 followers
July 26, 2013
Would have given it 3 1/2 stars.
Profile Image for Laurie.
57 reviews
September 9, 2016
This novel will keep you hooked until the end. Thoughtfully written believability. The first book I have read by this author and I am now looking forward to reading others by her.
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews

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